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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning (77 comments)

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  •  thank you (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, RiveroftheWest, poco, Emmet, lunacat

    wonderful diary and enjoyed every word.

    always eager to learn more since i have never taken a formal english lit course, whoa, take that back, my goodness, i did take a class and the professor liked to hear the sound of his own voice, it was sonorous and deep. he performed for us for the bulk of the lecture time, but there was very little analysis as there was no time for that.

    i had two strong reactions, one emotional and one more, i guess, psychological:

    the first: it was clear there was no sense of empathy for the 14 year old from the narrator but, interestingly enough, the empathy for her is somehow conveyed by the writer of the poem, which speaks greatly to the skill of browning's ability to communicate.

    second reaction: so the mystery to me is why did browning write this?  it seems his relationship with barrett had yet to start so this poem was not a reaction to her father which was my first thought.

    •  I like your clear, frank comment. Very good place (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, shari, poco, Emmet, lunacat

      to start conversation from, when we can look inside ourselves, and discern our loudest personal responses to the work. Thanks.

      "which speaks greatly to the skill of browning's ability to communicate." Yes, this man is so sharp and subtle he's dangerous. Like Anthony in Julius Caesar.

      "so the mystery to me is why did browning write this?"
       

      Now I've got two responses. But they're both meta, not specific to Browning's emotional history.

      1) We humans always look for one reason. Anything really important has at least three.

      I dated a bulimic once, so I went and read a book about eating disorders. It said that eating disorders could become huge emotional bottlenecks in the personality, because eating is meaningful in so many ways (fat/thin/comfortable/desirable; meals = social/inclusion/reward; dieting = self-control/pride/safety; etc.). Which means you can pour all your issues into the eating disorder, until it becomes most of what you're about.

      So, Browning wrote this poem for several reasons. One, I think, is:

      2) It is brilliant. Browning, like every ambitious artist, wanted to create something new, beautiful and true. This story is where he found it.

      If writing this poem was a means to several ends, the highest end was to flex all his imagination and craft, to make a startling gem of a poem. It sparkles on so many levels.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 10:37:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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